A few years ago, in 2014, I was living in Beverly Hills and, one day, while walking down Hollywood Boulevard, I found a tattoo shop with a very old-school look.
I immediately fell in love with it.
I walked in, and I got the chance to chat with Chris Sanchez and agreed to get tattoed by him at the MusikInk Festival a few days later.
We became friends, and last week I got the chance to finally interview him about Hollywood, tattoos, music, and how the pandemic affected the business.
His tattoo studio is located at 6548 Hollywood blvd Los Angeles ca 90028
Hi Chris, welcome to NewsBreak. You are one of the most appreciated tattoo artists in Hollywood. May you tell us a bit more about your story?
Thank you very much. My name is Chris Suicide Sanchez, and I am from Mexico City. I have been living in Los Angeles for the last 20 years.
I am a musician and vocalist of two bands Chencha Berrinches, and The Triggers, a professional tattoo artist and owner of OLD TRADITION TATTOO in Hollywood.
How did you find out about your passion for tattoos?
Well, I have always been around art.
My father was an artist, my brother started tattooing 25 years ago, and he gave me my first tattoo when I was 13 years old. It was a birthday present. This was when I knew I liked art. I fell in love with tattoos. I always wanted to somehow combine music and tattoos in my life: it is a lifestyle! The first time I made a tattoo, I felt like I was on top of a stage singing, I know they are two different things, but they fill me in the same way. I went on tour and have taken my machines. I have tattooed while being on tour.
It is an extraordinary feeling. I have taken a break from the music because I have not stopped tattooing since I started professionally.
It fills me a lot.
Why have you decided to focus on the old-school style?
I have always liked bright and bold tattoos. I have always admired Ed Hardy, Sailor Jerry, Bert Grimms, Bob Roberts, Ralph Johnstone, etc.
The tattoos from those times, 30 to 40 years ago, look the same. As they say, bold will hold. Bright tattoos have always caught my attention. That is why I decided to specialize in that style, American traditional but putting my touch.
I was 19 when I moved to Los Angeles, CA. My parents would always tell me to follow my dreams.
So I left the University and my job in a bank to follow my dream of being a musician. That is why it was hard for me to leave my life in Mexico, but in the end, it was worth it because I followed my dreams.
How did it start with Old Tradition Tattoo on Hollywood Boulevard?
Old Tradition Tattoo started in March of 2015 in a small space behind a smoke shop. I knew that to have a name as an artist, especially in Hollywood, you need to start somewhere. I have always let my work speak for itself, and I believe that my name is now recognized in one of the most relevant places in the world.
Thanks to my family, my clients, my co-workers, the lessons, and the experiences, that I have gone through, OLD TRADITION TATTOO now has a total of 7 artists and growing.
How did the pandemic affect your business?
The pandemic affected everyone and taught us many things. I had a lot of time to spend with my family, which I am grateful for. Unfortunately for all the people, we lost friends, family, and people we knew. It really was difficult, but we got through it, and here we are stronger than ever.
How did the pandemic change the way you attend clients in a tattoo shop?
We work by appointment only. Hollywood is an attraction, and many people visit the walk of fame. We get a lot of walk-ins, but unfortunately, we no longer do walk-ins like before.
Everything is by appointment, and we follow the new rules of the health department. Even though the tattoo industry is one of the cleanest industries and we already had strict cleaning procedures.
So this is nothing new for us. Our clients feel comfortable and safe.
What is the most unforgettable tattoo you had to ink?
All the tattoos that I do are memorable for me. I try to give my best in each tattoo, whether it is a small one or a big one. It gives me great satisfaction to see my clients leaving happy and return for more. That is memorable.
How do you manage to balance your business in tattoos with your career as a musician?
I manage my own appointments.
The good thing about being the owner is that I do not ask anyone for permission, hahaha. When I have a tour, our manager lets us know in advance.
So I can manage my schedule around the tours. I have a great support system with my family and the people who work with me, and when I am not in the shop, they make sure that the shop flows and works as if I were there. I am extremely grateful for them.
Their support is important so that Old Tradition Tattoo can keep on succeeding.
Where would you take a friend to eat in Los Angeles?
I would take them to eat the street tacos at Silver Lake. They are on Sunset Blvd. They are delicious, they have al pastor, cabeza, suadero and the usual carne asada and pollo. They taste similar to the street tacos I used to eat in Mexico. Very cool!
What's your favorite spot in LA, and why?
My favorite place is Placita Olvera. It reminds me of Mexico, and every time I go, I feel like I'm back in MEXICO.